Wiener Werkstätte: From Nature to Abstraction




July 8-November 5, 2023

In the early 1900s, artists of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) propelled Austria into a prolific center of modern design. Organized with Régine Bonnefoit from the University of Neuchâtel and GW professor Kara Braciale, this small display of fabric samples from these pioneering designers also featured the work of GW art students inspired by the workshop’s legacy.

Organized by the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center in partnership with the Institute of Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland and GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.

About the Publication

In Tracing Wiener Werkstätte Textiles: Viennese Textiles from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, eleven authors trace the history of the world-famous and innovative fabrics designed by the Wiener Werkstätte. Their studies focus on aspects such as the origins of textile and fashion design collections and archives in Austria, Switzerland and the United States; the importance of Eastern European folk art, Japanese stencils, and didactic books on ornament of the late 19th century for Wiener Werkstätte textile patterns; the practical application of Wiener Werkstätte textiles in fashion, interior design, film and theater sets; and the workshop's strategies for conquering new markets in the United States. Three of the contributions provide new insight into the work of previously little-noticed female artists Hilda Schmid-Jesser, Maria Likarz-Strauss and Mizzi Vogl.

Régine Bonnefoit and Marie-Eve Celio-Scheurer, eds., Tracing Wiener Werkstätte Textiles: Viennese Textiles from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection. Boston, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2023.


Cream fabric block-printed in black with a design of rows of hearts or spades

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956); Adler; Austria,
Vienna; 1910 (designed), 1912 (reprinted). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-0193.086. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

Cream-colored textile with a pattern of yellow bells and brown scrolls

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956); Kohleule; Austria,
Vienna; 1910 (designed), 1912 (reprinted). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-0193.097. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

Textile with pattern of blue, grey, beige and black stripes in varying widths

Maria Likarz-Strauss (1893-1971); Royal; Austria, Vienna; 1928 (designed). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-0193.166. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

Silk patterned with a design of drapery folds. as well as stripes and scatter floral motifs

Dagobert Peche (1887-1923); Falte; Austria, Vienna; 1920-1923 (designed). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-1857. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

Black textile patterned with various stylized flowers in red, yellow, orange, gray and blue

Maria Likarz-Strauss (1893-1971); Asunta; Austria, Vienna; 1929 (designed). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-0193.175. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.